Centre Familial de Jeunes, Vitry-sur-Seine, vers 1975.

Centre Familial de Jeunes

Beginning in the early 1950s, the Centre Familial de Jeunes (CFDJ) acted as as a shelter and a place of refuge and care for groups of around twenty teenagers who were placed with social services by youth courts as an alternative to “reformatories”. First located in Vitry-sur-Seine near Paris, this “semi-open” home subsequently moved to Plessis-Trévise (Val-de- Marne) in 1983, before definitely closing its doors in 1992.

The ideology of the CFDJ, which blended anarchist leanings with a dose of dark humour, is perhaps best summed up in a single phrase – “It’s the outside that’s a prison” – which is emblematic of how this organization saw itself not as a place of healing but instead as a place of refuge where young people could be protected from the violence of society. The CFDJ’s extensive archives are shown in public for the first time.